Grounds for Recycling reduced 98% of carbon emissions from recycling coffee during UCI
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Grounds for Recycling’ initiative cut carbon emissions from disposing of coffee grounds by 98% for participating businesses – representing the equivalent volume of CO2 captured by roughly 111 trees a month.
The landmark scheme, led by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Glasgow Life and Zero Waste Scotland, ran during the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships events in Glasgow and was born out of the desire to create a circular solution to the 40,000 tonnes of coffee disposed of across Scotland a year.
Grounds for Recycling provided the perfect opportunity for hospitality venues to capitalise on the inherent value in used coffee grounds while simultaneously tackling the environmental and economic impacts of food waste within their businesses.
Grounds from 60 participating businesses, including SWG3, Drygate and Emirates Arena were collected via Urb-it, a B-Corp certified and sustainable e-cargo bike logistics service provider, and taken to Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens, where they were used as a soil improver and compost material around the park grounds. Over the 20-day run of the scheme, 4.7 tonnes of coffee were collected by the bike couriers.
Grounds for Recycling not only reduced CO2 emissions by replacing vehicle transportation with an e-cargo collection service but received glowing reports from participating businesses, with 93% reporting a positive impact on their food waste management as a result of the campaign and 100% of businesses reporting a desire to continue involvement in a similar sustainability campaign.
Results highlight the campaign’s potential to provide a long-term sustainable solution to hospitality food waste, which is thought to cost Scottish hospitality venues a staggering £10,000 per venue each year. Read the full evaluation report here groundsforrecycling.co.uk
Rebecca Ricketts, Grounds for Recycling Campaign Lead, said: “Sustainability can often be seen as an expensive addition to business practices, however, Grounds for Recycling has proven that is not the case. The biggest barrier to businesses taking part in circular activities is the ability to access them.
“There is both the demand and need for more long-term circular solutions to food waste across the hospitality industry. I hope the successes of Grounds for Recycling inspires others to look at creating innovative solutions to food waste across Scotland.”
The campaign follows the success of Plate up for Glasgow, Scotland’s first hospitality-led food waste campaign, which targeted the environmental and economic impacts of food waste.
Led by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Plate up for Glasgow challenged businesses to consider innovative solutions to food waste, including rethinking existing menu items, using unfashionable cuts of meat and showcasing food preservation techniques.
Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Reducing food waste and maximising the value of food and drink by-products, like coffee grounds, are an essential part of our journey towards embracing a more sustainable, and circular, way of living. The Grounds for Recycling campaign is an excellent example of the impact that can be made by tackling a single waste stream and it’s fantastic to see such a positive result from its pilot.
“Zero Waste Scotland is proud to support businesses finding innovative solutions like this and we look forward to working with Glasgow Chamber of Commerce on similar ventures in the future.”
Bailie Annette Christie, Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “The spectacular results of Grounds for Recycling speak for themselves. The Glasgow business community is dedicated to reducing carbon and creating a circular economy that will thrive in the net-zero future.
“It was a unique opportunity to align this campaign to the world’s biggest cycling event, harnessing additional global exposure. For future events we are committed to continuing to champion more practical and accessible sustainability solutions for businesses to get involved as we all charge towards the 2040 net-zero target.”